Give Back Iowa Challenge logs record number of volunteer hours

By Volunteer Iowa on Thursday, June 14, 2018

4th Annual Give Back Iowa Challenge winners announced

DES MOINES — Volunteer Iowa has announced the winners of the 4th annual Give Back Iowa Challenge, a campaign in which businesses across the state encouraged their employees to volunteer and log their hours as part of an eight-week challenge, April 1 through May 31. 

The 2018 Give Back Iowa Challenge had 56 participating organizations — representing just shy of 54,000 employees in Iowa —that logged more than 83,000 volunteer hours. This outstanding amount of volunteer time increased 39 percent over the final hours reported in 2017. According to the current Iowa volunteer rate per hour from the Independent Sector, the value of these hours exceeds $1.9 million.

Why encourage employees to volunteer?

  • From a business perspective, employer supported volunteering impacts the bottom line. Studies show it leads to improved employee engagement, organizational commitment, job satisfaction, and retention.
  • From an engagement perspective, places of employment are perfect environments to encourage and support volunteering efforts that contribute toward meeting significant community challenges. 
  • From a wellness perspective, studies have found that volunteering helps people feel more socially connected to a cause or even within their own community. That's why the Iowa Healthiest State Initiative is proud to partner with Give Back Iowa.

Participating employers were divided into four categories based on the number of employees. Winners were selected by the highest average number of volunteer hours per employee.

The 2018 winners include:

Micro: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Iowa, Waterloo (Honorable Mention: Lessing-Flynn, Des Moines)

Small: First Citizens Bank, Mason City (Honorable Mention: Clear Lake Bank & Trust Company, Clear Lake)

Medium: Riverside Casino and Golf Resort, Riverside (Honorable Mention: Spencer Hospital, Spencer)

Large: Wells Fargo, Des Moines (Honorable Mention: John Deere Des Moines Area, Des Moines)

The winners will receive a visit from Gov. Kim Reynolds or Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg in the coming months and a certificate of recognition.

“The winners of this year’s record-breaking Give Back Iowa Challenge truly understand what it means to be an Iowan,” Gov. Reynolds said. “Through service, Iowans are making the lives of others better and meeting community challenges, while also transforming their own lives.”


Volunteer Iowa would also like to recognize the additional employers that rounded out the overall Top 20 in the challenge with the highest average number of volunteer hours per employee:

Buena Vista University

Community Youth Concepts

Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa

Green Valley Pest Control & Lawn Care

Iowa Council of Foundations

Iowa Health Care Collaborative

Iowa Healthiest State Initiative

M2K Marketing Group

Reiman Gardens

United Way of Dubuque Area Tri-States

Volunteer Center of Story County

West Music Company

“Even though the Give Back Iowa Challenge is only a short snapshot in time, it demonstrates the impact employers have on improving our communities through service,” said Adam Lounsbury, Volunteer Iowa Executive Director. “Employee volunteering is win-win for both employers and the community, and with the continued support of employers every day of the year, we can scale the impact across Iowa.”

For resources on employer-supported volunteering or to find volunteer opportunities, visit

About Volunteer Iowa

Volunteer Iowa and its partner agencies work with organizations and individuals on three main fronts. The first is to help agencies develop quality programs that use service as a strategy to fulfill their missions and address Iowa’s greatest areas of need. The second is to help engage Iowans in their communities by promoting service and expanding the volunteer base. Finally, the third area of work is to connect individuals with appropriate service opportunities by building the volunteer infrastructure. More information is available at